Avoiding the next breach: Four tips for securing your apps

As security incidents continue to be an ongoing threat to businesses on a daily basis, keeping security procedures up-to-date and avoiding the next breach have become paramount.

avoiding the next breach

In the first six months alone in 2019, more than 4 billion customer records were exposed due to data breaches. Every year we see the same, troublesome story play out: companies who fail to address vulnerabilities in their infrastructure and customer-facing mobile and web apps will eventually fall victim to malicious actors.

When it comes to data breaches, it’s easy to stay out of the spotlight – until the worst case scenario happens. With this in mind, it’s critical that companies be proactive in their cybersecurity efforts and ensure their security teams are equipped to address vulnerabilities in real-time. Let’s take a look at four key tips to keeping tabs on business apps and improving security efforts.

Developers and security teams – unite!

Simply put, security, operations and developer teams need to have ongoing collaboration. While security teams may be responsible for strategizing around new investments in defensive technology, they are not part of the building process.

It is crucial to include application developers – the ones who are actually adopting the new platforms and methods that alter your risk profile – in the security conversation. Developers need visibility and feedback as well as automated security checks throughout the development process – a method that secures applications while simultaneously achieving business objectives.

Prioritize the needles in the haystack

Prioritization is a major problem in the world of application security. There is a constant overabundance of bugs that need fixing, so a pile-on of both expected and unexpected issues can occur at an unmanageable rate. Given this, it’s no surprise that security professionals can end up feeling paralyzed by the overwhelming volume of threat alerts on their plate.

This issue explains why legacy web application firewalls are often bought for compliance – just to check off a box – and then turned off and monitored. Security teams need a modern solution that pulls out needles from the haystack, identifying anomalies and the most important attacks in real-time. Solutions like these allow any team member to access security data and quickly diagnose, triage and solve the problem within their applications.

When security teams are enabled to view attack traffic like this and understand the impact on their apps, they become more informed about the probability of bug exploitation and, therefore, are better equipped to address issues.

Know the unknowns, but accept that you can’t know them all

Facing unknowns is a challenge, and this reality couldn’t be more true for security professionals. These teams are often concerned with their lack of understanding of threats, attack vectors and methods specific to cloud-native applications. It’s a valid fear – one rooted in the idea that they can’t stop or prevent threats they can’t see.

The common issue is that companies are often operating blindly when trying to secure cloud-native applications due to a lack of information on why or how an activity was allowed or blocked. This is because some security vendors operate as a black box and do not provide customers the means to drill down or understand why activity was allowed or blocked.

As a result, teams can become complacent on security activity and are prevented from investigating and learning from attacks on their applications. Security teams can’t effectively secure their apps with a black box mentality. To operate successfully and make sure they are avoiding the next breach, they need to choose a solution and develop practices that provide them with visibility into the unknowns – as many as possible.

Avoiding the next breach by keeping tabs on your budget

Two words: spend wisely. The allocation of a security budget needs to align with the overall technology strategy, so companies need to ensure they are allocating their security budget strategically. A good starting point is to consider investments in building cloud services and web applications, as well as corresponding defensive technologies.

Earlier this year, analyst firm IDC published research that forecasted worldwide spending on security-related hardware, software, and services to reach $103 billion in 2019, which puts it at nearly a 10 percent increase over 2018. Where is all this money going? Companies need to spend smarter on solutions that will offer long-term improvements to their security practices from the ground up.

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